Nervy SL Benfica grab win
Premier League leaders SL Benfica grabbed a nervous a 2-1 win at CS Maritimo on Monday thanks to a Lima penalty and a second-half own-goal to keep their four-point lead over second-placed Porto. Brazilian striker Lima grabbed an early opener from the penalty spot for Benfica, who knew a win would bring them closer to a 33rd league title, but Maritimo defender Igor Rossi equalized for the hosts. Benfica came out strongly in the second half and Rossi turned villain for Maritimo when he deflected Eduardo Salvio’s cross into his own net after 72 minutes.
Gremio coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo has been suspended for six South American matches for his part in a brawl at the end of his team’s Copa Libertadores match away to Chile’s CD Huachipato. The former Real Madrid and Brazil coach, alleged to have sparked the brawl, was also fined US$25,000 by the South American Football Confederation, which posted the sanctions on its Web site on Monday. Luxemburgo appeared to make fun of his Chilean opponents after the final whistle of the decisive group match in the southern Chilean city of Talcahuano. There were bans and fines for other members of Gremio’s coaching staff and the players.
PAOK sack coach Donis
PAOK have sacked coach Giorgos Donis, the Super League club said on Monday. PAOK finished runners-up in the regular season ahead of the playoffs, but were knocked out of the Greek Cup by PAE Asteras Tripolis on Saturday, missing out on a final with Olympiakos. “PAOK announces that it has decided to terminate the contract with coach Giorgos Donis for perfectly good reasons which are his own fault,” PAOK said in a statement on their Web site. “With regard to the events of recent days and the painful elimination from the Greek Cup, we feel the need to apologize to all our fans who traveled to Tripoli, and also for those who dreamed about our participation in the final.” Technical director Giorgos Georgiadis will replace Donis until the end of the season.
Lone fan offered paid trip
Standing strong alone has paid off for one supporter cheering on Swedish team IF Brommapojkarna in an away match against Mjallby AIF. Dressed in the team’s red-and-black shirt, 57-year-old Anders Ung was the only person in the section for visiting fans as Brommapojkarna lost the match 4-2 on Sunday. His unflinching support so impressed Brommapojkarna midfielder Bojan Djordjic, a former youth player at Manchester United, that he offered to buy Ung a trip to Stockholm so he could watch a home game. Ung, who lives in southern Sweden, told newspaper Aftonbladet that he was humbled by the offer, but would prefer to pay his own fare.
Official banned for life
A match official has been banned for life after attacking a player during a youth match. Assistant referee Musa Kadyrov rushed onto the field near the end of Friday’s game between Terek Grozny and visiting Amkar Perm and shoved and punched Amkar’s Ilya Krichmar. The official reportedly believed the player had been insulting him. R-Sport cited Lom-Ali Ibragimov, president of the region’s soccer federation, as saying that Kadyrov has been banned from officiating at all matches for life.